Glasgow (AFP) – Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers bemoaned a “poor demonstration of officiating” after Olivier Ntcham was sent off in a goalless draw away to St Mirren on Friday.
The result gave Oran Kearney a point in his first game as Buddies boss but Rodgers was unhappy with the decision by referee Andrew Dallas to show French midfielder Ntcham a second yellow card for a tackle on St Mirren captain Stephen McGinn in the 36th minute.
“There were lots of incidents he (Dallas) got wrong, and for St Mirren as well,” said Rodgers. “The sending-off, for me, is not a second yellow card.
“If you watch it again, the first one is a booking and we take that.
“But before the second one there is an incident when Olivier makes contact with the ball and wins the ball, but the referee gives a free-kick against us.”
The former Liverpool manager added: “Then when you see it in the corner Olivier is running across to block the ball up the line and the St Mirren player is falling over as he plays it and at the same time Olivier slides but doesn’t have contact with the player.
“So from that — and it’s in the corner which makes it lively — then the referee falls for it and he gets a second yellow. For me it wasn’t a second yellow or a sending-off,” the Northern Irishman insisted.
Kearney, however, was understandably delighted that his first game in charge of the Paisley club had yielded a point against the Scottish champions.
“It is a massive point, one we wanted and one we are delighted to have,” Kearney said. “We wanted a performance first and foremost and I am delighted with the manner the players have gone about their business, that was the key.”
St Mirren worked hard for a draw that came on the back of three straight league defeats, a run that had led to the exit of former manager Alan Stubbs.
Former West Ham and Sunderland defender Anton Ferdinand, 33, made his St Mirren debut hours after signing until the end of the season.
St Mirren made a bright start and in the third minute, following a Ntcham handball, Cammy Smith fired in a free-kick but Hoops goalkeeper Craig Gordon moved quickly to his right before punching the ball clear.
Saints went close again in the 13th minute when midfielder Ryan Flynn headed a cross from Lee Hodson over the bar from 12 yards, before Gordon blocked a close-range effort from Smith.
Celtic found themselves down to 10 men when Ntcham was sent off.
Rodgers reshuffled his line-up but Celtic offered little attacking threat until Leigh Griffiths came on in place of Filip Benkovic.
Celtic midfielder Callum McGregor’s shot was saved easily by Buddies keeper Craig Samson, who then saved a chip shot from James Forrest.
Griffiths put the ball in the net right at the end of the match but the flag was up for offside.
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